VM2_6954_ret.jpg Salym Petroleum Development N.V. is a joint venture whose shareholders are Gazprom Neft PJSC and Shell on a fifty-fifty basis. Since 2003, the company has been developing the Salym group of oil fields in the Khanty-Mansiysk Autonomous Okrug – Ugra. In October 2018, the Salym project celebrated its 15th anniversary. Throughout this time, the enterprise has been developing and implementing cutting-edge innovative technologies across all production and business dimensions, from geologic exploration, well construction and power engineering to HR. It was this approach that brought the company to the same level with leaders of the oil production industry. Sergey Glazkov, Head of Electrical and Power Management at Salym Petroleum Development N.V., shares the key secrets of successful business.

– Sergey, please tell us about the development of power engineering in Salym Petroleum Development N.V. (SPD).

– Salym Petroleum is consistently implementing a program of company’s energy system development. On the one hand, we commission additional power capacities, on the other, we are upgrading and restoring the existing equipment. Hundreds of experts from SPD and partner companies from contractors are involved in these processes. Developing energy safety during operation of hazardous production facilities is considered to be not merely a key task but literally the fundamental basis of company’s activities.

– What specific steps were taken in this regard?

– Since SPD is a joint venture, it is guided by both Russian legislation and international standards on production processes safety. Salym Petroleum is a unique venue for studying and applying best shareholders’ practices. People are what the company values most, so developing employees’ competence and sharing experience with partners creates an environment where workers’ initiatives are quickly assessed and implemented, improving production processes and building a new level of safety. Yet we do not wait for a useful practice to emerge or come to us; we are not afraid of proposing our own initiatives to the industry and developing professional connections. For instance, in 2017 SPD offered cooperation to Sakhalin Energy. Having signed a Declaration on Mutually Beneficial Cooperation, the two companies arranged mutual field visits. These joint activities resulted in a comprehensive process of identifying potentially dangerous areas at SPD facilities where workers could get hurt by electric arc, and also developing measures to reduce both the probability and the intensity of such an impact. I would also like to emphasize the high efficiency of Lockout/Tagout system applied by our Sakhalin colleagues.

– Please describe this system and its prospects in more detail.

– The Lockout / Tagout (LOTO) system is currently recognized as one of the most efficient industrial safety systems. It earned a great reputation and is mandatory at production facilities in over 26 European, Asian and American countries as well as in Australia; in Russia, however, it is only starting to grow popular. This system consists of locks installed at lockout points of energy sources or hazardous media feeds during work place preparation, and information tags describing such lockout points. For SPD that has already been developing Safety Culture for several years, the LOTO system became an important element of the safety system at electric plants in the Salym group of oil fields; it has been a certain benchmark and a reference for electrical engineers at SPD since its implementation. As a result, a system of physical barriers of personal protection from occupational hazards and dangerous production factors was created, along with the behavioral culture of workers’ personal safety. 

– What challenges did you face during LOTO system implementation at production?

– Implementing this system at any company certainly has its own features. Salym Petroleum, for instance, uses a broad range of equipment by various manufacturers. Foreign-made product lines usually already have devices, levers and blockers in their structural design to install system elements for LOTO application, while domestic equipment has these quite rarely. The company had to perform an in-depth investigation of the existing equipment, select blocking devices in the market, and develop ways of attaching and installing them. In April 2018, our colleagues participated in Energy for Fuel and Energy Complex conference attended by major manufacturers of domestic electrical equipment. At this event, SPD recommended manufacturers to provide for the capability of LOTO system application in the design of domestic equipment. Conference participants and manufacturers had a high opinion of SPD initiative because it is obvious that safe equipment enjoys higher demand in the market, which means it is more competitive.

– How much do you think the LOTO system is currently demanded in the Russian industry?

– By the time LOTO was implemented, the company had operated a fully electronic permit-to-work system for several years, which included platforms for job safety analysis and production risk assessment and was based on a well-developed system of digital communications. This made it possible to adapt the LOTO system to production processes existing at SPD within a relatively short time. But until recently we couldn’t even imagine how popular the LOTO system was in other domestic industries. In March 2019, SPD employees participated in the first All-Russian conference, Lockout/Tagout. Work Safe. Work with the Best!, where they learnt that the LOTO system is applied not only in the oil and gas industry but also in coal, mining, pharmaceutical, steelmaking, chemical, furniture and other domestic industries. This opened up new opportunities of system application for the company, new ways of improving business efficiency and process safety. At the same time, many conference participants were interested in SPD experience and a lively discussion of practical issues of system application laid the foundation for further constructive dialogues.

– What other areas are promising for SPD development, in your opinion?

– Primarily, working with people. Developing the professional competence of our employees today is the cornerstone for company’s success in the future. That is why SPD is not only building individual employee development programs with standard methods offered by training centers; the company has also established the institution of internal SPD trainers. As of 2019, we have shifted from outsourcing electric plants operation to doing maintenance on them ourselves in order to retain electrical engineers in the company and sustain the safety level of workers whose work places are prepared by our colleagues. Salym Petroleum has created its own energy plants operation group, is incrementally ramping up production processes efficiency and safety, and continuously working on reducing non-productive costs and waste.

Lock out Tag out system
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